I love gingerbread and would eat it year round but it is especially great during the winter holidays. I recently became curious about its origins and found many interesting facts about this holiday treat after doing some quick research.
Gingerbread has been baked in Europe since around the 11th century. It varied in the different parts of Europe from a soft spiced cake to a crisp, flat cookie to warm, thick, dark squares of bread served with a lemon sauce. Whether light or dark, sweet or spicy, the gingerbread was almost always cut into shapes - men, women, stars, animals - and decorated with icing or frosting.
Gingerbread-making in North America has its roots in the regional settling of American immigrants. As families from different regions of Europe arrived in America they brought with them many family recipes and regional variations. In Pennsylvania, for example, the influence of German cooking was prominent and many traditional German gingerbreads appeared - especially around the December holidays. By the time gingerbread was modernized in the 19th century, Americans had been baking it for decades!
It has been said that there is no place in the world with a greater repertoire of gingerbread recipes than in America. While there are many variations in taste, form, and presentation, the traditional gingerbread is incredibly easy to make. While the ingredients in this recipe are traditional, the technique is not; here's how to create gingerbread right in your dorm room!
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 TBSP ground ginger
- 1 TBSP ground allspice
- 2 TBSP baking soda
- 4 oz light corn syrup
- 1 ½ TBSP molasses
- 2 TBSP dark brown sugar
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 4 TBSP milk
- Closely line the bottom and sides of a 6” microwavable dish with plastic wrap allowing it to hang slightly over the edges
- In a bowl place the flour, ginger, allspice and baking soda and toss well with a fork.
- In a microwave safe bowl, measure the molasses, sugar, and butter and heat uncovered for approx 1 ½ minutes until the butter has melted. Stir well to blend.
- Using a fork or rubber spatula fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients also adding the milk and the egg.
- When well combined transfer mixture to the lined microwavable dish and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- Cook on full power for approximately 3-4 minutes until the gingerbread is well risen. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
- Remove the gingerbread from the dish by using the plastic wrap that is hanging over the edges and let cool. Wrap tightly and refrigerate completely before cutting.